TSG’s new licensing system works with an online licence server. Licenses are available 24 hours a day and purchases are made online by Visa or Mastercard. You can have TSG installed and licensed in a few minutes.
TSG8 and its licensing require Windows 7 or above. On 16 July 2018 the online licensing component stopped supporting Windows XP. Clients running XP have to upgrade their PC’s operating system or resort to the "offline" licence activation and refresh methods described below.
Here is a broad overview of how things normally work for new TSG customers:
The first time that it is installed on a PC, TSG automatically sets up a temporary 30-day Viewer-mode licence. This is a convenience measure. Even though the TSG Base licence is free, it is still necessary to activate it (step 3 above) or TSG will go unlicensed once the 30 days are up.
A few options are available in the TSG online store. The main one is called TSG Base and it is free. (The others are TSG Base pre-packaged with some Premium time and they are not free. There are further TSG products that are not shown in the online store, e.g., TSG QC for HyLoggers.) The free TSG Base licence functions as a viewer, enabling you to view existing TSG datasets. Full ("Premium") TSG functionality is available through the purchase of a block of calendar time, for a TSG Base licence that you already have. Various blocks are available, ranging from 1 day to 3 years. Time blocks may be purchased as required.
(Customers who "upgrade" a TSG 7 licence that qualifies for free TSG 8 Premium time will normally receive a TSG Base licence that is pre-loaded with some Premium time. Aside from the pre-loaded Premium time, such a licence works just like a regular TSG Base licence.)
There is just one TSG 8 setup program. One normally gains access to it after acquiring a licence. After installation, TSG’s functionality is determined by the licence that is activated. For example, if a plain TSG Base licence is activated then TSG will have Viewer functionality and if a TSG Base + Premium time licence is activated then TSG will have full functionality.
A TSG licence resides on the server.
When you activate a licence in TSG, TSG pulls a copy of the licence file down from the server. The server maintains an "allowed activations" counter (generally starting at 1 for a new licence) and this counter is normally decremented when the licence is activated. However, if the licence is activated two or more times in a row (without any deactivations in between) on the same PC then the counter is only decremented the first time.
When you deactivate a licence in TSG, the TSG installation becomes unlicensed and the licence is "given back" to the server. That is, the server’s "allowed activations" counter is incremented. The licence may now be reactivated on the same PC or activated on a different PC.
Activation and deactivation do not require customer-service assistance, and are quick when the TSG PC is connected to the internet. (A slower, manual method is available for a PC that is not connected to the internet. It does not require customer-service assistance.)
When a Premium time purchase is made for a TSG Base licence, the time purchase is added to the licence. If the licence had some Premium time before the purchase then this time is preserved, not wiped out. Also, Premium time purchases stack. You can make two or more Premium-time purchases in a row (with the restriction of one per transaction). Each purchase’s time will be added to the licence.
When Premium time is purchased for a TSG Base licence, the licence is adjusted on the server. TSG checks its licence status with the server periodically (normally once a day) and will retrieve the updated licence sooner or later. You can get TSG to do this check immediately by pressing the "Refresh" button in TSG’s licence dialog.
When a TSG Base + Premium time licence is deactivated on one PC and activated on another, the other PC gets the full licence (with Premium time). So if you have two or more TSG licenses, you can move them around as it suits you.